Friday, December 18, 2009

Hello Everyone!

My blog has moved to its own web page - yay! Please visit me there - I enjoy all your comments, please keep them coming!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Social media dangerous for the younger generation?

Tonight I attended a social media forum for a volunteer organization I’m involved with (I know, you’re thinking – “Why would a social media expert like myself go to a social media forum?” – because you can always learn more…write that down). Anyway, at the forum, one of the ladies asked a question about how she had read that social media was hurting children because they weren’t learning how to speak to people face-to-face.

Ok, I see her point – barely, however, I believe that this same thing was said about TV, the telephone, cell phones, the internet...I could go on and on. I understand that this creates a new problem for parents. Not only do they have to monitor their children’s cell phones and internet activity, they now have to monitor social media posts and interactions.

But I disagree. I think that social media may actually be a great way for ‘tweens (read: ages 10 to 12) to engage in conversation with others, learn more about the world and other cultures, and overall, learn how to interact with their peers. For instance, one of the main rules of social media is to be interested as well as be interesting. That means that to engage with others, they must be interested in what the other is saying, or ask questions about that person.

Another point is that social media allows ‘tweens to see people’s personalities instead of just their looks. Ultimately it gives them a real idea of what a real person is, the individual personalities, and not just what a person wears.

Parents should embrace the capabilities of social media (just as they did with the internet, the cell phone, etc.) and find a way to teach their child how to be careful with social media, but also use it for the benefits and learning opportunities it can create.

Social media brings us a way to break out of our shells and learn how to interact with others gradually instead of throwing a shy, socially-awkward teenager into a crowded room of people. Honestly I think that social media may help more ‘tweens learn how to become self confident and sure of themselves.

What do you think? Is social media something that should be blocked from the younger generation? Or embraced?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day 2009: One Color Unites Us

In honor of World AIDS Day (December 1), I wanted to commend (RED) for their great branding strategies and ability to engage with the public through social media, advertising, and, most importantly, brand partnerships.

As most of you know, (RED) has combined forces with retail giants Starbucks, Dell and Gap (to name a few - see a complete list here) to create more awareness of AIDS/HIV in Africa (and consequently, it has spread to help those throughout the world). (RED) recently announced their newest partnership with shoe retailer extraordinnaire, Nike.

As most Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising students can tell you, the first thing they learn is that cause branding is a huge way to make an impact, as well as give your company the attention they need - without throwing advertisements in consumer's faces.

Today, on World AIDS Day, many different companies are working with (RED) to make sure we, the public, know about this day of knowledge and protection.

On Twitter posts, you can put the terms "#red" or "#laceupsavelives" and your tweets will show up in the color red.

On Facebook, the (RED) site gives fans a list of things they can each do to show their support and to help fight AIDS, such as purchasing Nike's red laces, posting a video on the Lazarus Effect (below) or change your profile picture to something red (they have a few choices).

Starbucks is offering 5 cents for every beverage made and purchased; Gap is offering 1 percent of all its revenues from US and Canada; and Dell is doubling its contributions until Dec. 2.

Not only does this increase sales for these (RED) partners, but it shows they are willing to give back and gives each a good name (at least for one day). And, I bet, the next time you are out shopping, and notice the (RED) logo, you'll think twice about purchasing something else.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Twilight Saga: New Moon's failed attempt at advertising

I was reading AdAge, as I typically do, and came across an article on The Twilight Saga: New Moon and the advertising efforts they were engaging in. One particular ad caught my eye and made me think, “That’s a really bad and annoying idea.”

New Moon has partnered with MySpace to post its full page ad that literally takes over a person’s homepage. Not only that, but, pictures of the characters from the movie will appear in the corner of every page. Talk about intrusive – have the advertisers heard of “pop-ups”? Because this ad is looking scarily close to an enormous pop-up. And what do we do to pop-ups? Block them. Why? Because no one cares about them and, frankly, are annoyed at having to click the X in the corner of the pop-up to make it go away while trying to access the internet page they were after in the first place.

Another thing the ad agency should have thought of – its social medium. MySpace? Really? I’ve heard it referred to as the “white trash version of Facebook.” Does anyone even use it anymore? My theory here is that the advertisers approached Facebook about doing this ad on the site and Facebook (quite rightly) said no. So then they went to MySpace (which I understand is trying to reinvent itself as an entertainment-centric social platform - good luck).

Now, they did do one thing right with the ad, and that was to offer a free soundtrack remix through Apple’s iTunes if a consumer buys a movie ticket online. That’s great interaction with a customer and definitely makes the idea of buying a movie ticket online a better alternative to buying in the theater. The only thing they should have thought of was not putting it with one large pop-up on a dead social site.

This ad had the beginnings of a good idea. If the company had put more interactive links on the ad (such as links to character blogs, Twitter feeds – which, come to think of it, I don’t think they even have) and placed it in a better spot, or even its own site, consumers might have been more excited at seeing a large ad pop-up. Perhaps the agency should have looked at another vampire-esque show (True Blood) and taken note of their amazing ad campaign.

Overall, I rate this as a complete fail by an agency to promote, what should be, the easiest movie to promote in years.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Social TV

I've written about social media's impact on television before (check out my postings on Talent Zoo's Beyond Madison Avenue) and now more and more people and news outlets are recognizing the significance that social media is having on everything; not just friends updating friends.

I'm sure you've seen the commercial for, where you can interact with people online and share your opinions and ideas, etc., about television shows and programs. Studios are taking notice and have invented what they call 'social tv.'

Essentially what this means is that people no longer just want to watch tv, they now want to interact with others who are interested in the same genres (much like traditional clubs and networking organizations).

AdAge wrote an article today on 'social tv' and the benefits its giving to programs. As I'm sure you are aware, watching a tv program in "...the old school fashion..." (i.e. at the time it actually airs and with commercials) is not a common practice anymore. With social media, producers are able to track who is talking, texting, tweeting and facebooking about their show and then use that information to attract sponsors. Many programs, such as Tosh.O on Comedy Central, have incorporated social media into their programs (Daniel Tosh does a regular segment where he answers tweets he receives).

Borrowing a quote from the AdAge article, David Dickman, senior VP-digital media, Warner Bros. Digital said, "Extending the customer base to online is going to broaden your demographic push. The digital aspect is going to broaden out that base and just bring more people into the fold."

Mr. Dickman, you are correct. The face of how we connect with customers, clients and partners is changing and companies are rushing to catch it. Expect a few mistakes, but a ton of successes. It will be interesting to see how social media goes hand-in-hand with, well, just about everything media related. Perhaps we'll see discount coupons through Twitter, contests through Facebook and even a scavenger hunt that ties all social mediums together (imagine how fast that would bring in an audience!).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Southern Comfort targets men with online social sports series

A few weeks ago I wrote about Ashton Kutcher and his Facebook series, as well as the newest trend - Twitter series. It seems that companies are really changing their advertising tactics and heading to the internet instead of the TV.

Southern Comfort is just one of the many who is targeting consumers through online social mediums. They have asked the Break Creative Lab to create an 8 episode web series aimed at men and the holiday season parties, called Social Sportz Net.

The episodes offer tips on party planning and the format is similar to Sportscenter. The ad company can add this to their growing portfolio of 25 other online series. VP Jonathan Small says the key to these series is humor.

“Humor is the universal language of the Break audience. So what works are videos that look like Break,” Small said. “You can’t be too heavy handed. It helps to have a client who is aware of this.”

Lena DerOhannessian, Southern Comfort’s U.S. brand marketing director, said, “This is about showcasing the brand in real situations.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A night in my life - Halloween

My mom, being the smart lady she is, mentioned something to me on Halloween about my costume. Although she didn’t agree with what I was wearing (she’d rather I went as a hot dog as I have done the previous two years) she told me I should write about my adventures in my costume and post it on my blog. Since I haven’t shared much creative writing with you, my fellow bloggers, I figured mom was right, and I would let you know about my two nights as…well, let me see if I can paint this picture for you.

A group of five of us dressed up and refused to leave each other’s sides all night. We wore long trench coats, fedoras and sunglasses. Underneath our trench coats? Well, we wore boxers and white undershirts. Get it yet? We were flashers…kind of.

The Friday before Halloween, we dressed up to go to the Star’s hockey game. I went to my friends house to get ready and after putting on our attire, getting me to leave the apartment was when it really hit me – my goodness, I’m going out in my undies.

For the next two nights, I was no longer Megan, I was an anonymous flasher, sneaking through crowds of people to unknowing prey. Ok, it wasn’t exactly like that. Actually, people kept asking if we were spys or a part of the Blues Brothers and no one really seemed too surprised when we “flashed” them, although they did tend to laugh.

And sneaking through crowds? Well, Halloween is a busy night, and you can’t even move to get a drink in a timely manner in a bar, forget blending in to the shadows.

Overall, the hype of being a flasher completely outweighed the actual being of a flasher. Perhaps I should try to be a flasher when it is not Halloween and I’ll get a better response…